Last Months changes by Google are still rocking the local market. And for good reason.
Clearly a “Revenue Enhancement” effort by Google, the universe has changed for my efforts and those of my clients seeking to get maximum visibility online for their businesses.
Here is a recent post about the change in the Search Engine Land Blog. I advise people to pay attention to the changes being rolled out in San Francisco. To get that important tidbit be sure to click through to the entire article: http://searchengineland.com/new-google-local-search-display-230525
Here is there summary of the significant aspects of the new changes:
Summary Of Changes To Local Search Results
- The local search pack in the SERPs now shows three listings instead of seven. The number of organic results remains unchanged.
- With the reduction of local search results from seven to three, many companies will need to increase local ad spend to keep consistent traffic. This is especially true now that ads may be taking up increasing space above the fold (especially on mobile).
- A large map has been added to the local search 3-pack, taking up a lot of valuable space above the fold.
- Desktop and mobile results are now in the same format. (Results still may be different.)
- Address and phone number have been removed from many local search results.
- Photos have been removed from many searches.
- Review stars are not displayed for most branded searches.
- Actual SERP display varies greatly depending on business type.
These changes clearly are designed to move more local businesses into Google Adwords Advertising.
Since I am a Certified Adwords Manager and offer Minneapolis St Paul Area Business with their Adwords Pay per Click Management, this change is good for me. But it does raise the cost of doing business for my clients which is unfortunate.
It also increases the role of SEO, which I am increasingly promoting as a way of reducing that cost exposure for those businesses.